Sunday, October 31, 2010

And the Choir Sings!

I thought it would be fun to give you a sample of my church, Iglesia Bautista Betania, by posting a video of the choir singing. These Latinos sure love to sing with gusto!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fishing In the Streets

It has been such a blessing to meet fellow Christians here in the missionary language school who have a passion for evangelism!

Last week, a group of us went out on a Friday evening to do some street preaching and witnessing in historic downtown McAllen. However, when we pulled up, we realized that small towns close shop much earlier than we had anticipated; the streets were practically deserted. Our leader got up on his box anyway and shared his testimony in Spanish to the few people who trickled by. We were also able to pass out a handful of tracts. One team member even got into a one-on-one conversation with a group of people during which time he was able to share the Gospel (see above picture).

Since the little town was empty, we decided to move on to a bigger fishing hole and camped out at the nearby mall for the next 45 minutes. What a zoo it was in comparison! It was exciting to spread out, pass out tracts, and look for folks with whom we could share the Gospel...this time in English! Each of us was able to have a one-on-one conversation with at least one person that night.

Today, we tried the streets again, figuring that a Saturday around lunch time would be a better chance to catch a crowd. This time, the streets were packed with cars and we had a hard time finding a parking space! George set up his box and courageously proclaimed the truths of the Lord to those passing by while the rest of us formed a crowd or passed out tracts.

This time, we also had the blessing of one of the bilingual Bible Institute students being with us. Seeing a pair of young women sitting on an adjacent bench, he nudged me and said, "Hey, let's go talk to those girls." So we walked over to where they sat and he asked them if they spoke English or Spanish. When they said Spanish, he started up a conversation with them about eternity. I was so glad he could speak their language! While he talked, I prayed. The girls had to leave before he could finish sharing, but we pray the seeds planted will cause them to hunger after truth.

Next, we approached a pair of men who had been listening to the street preaching each time George jumped up on his box. Noel again was able to converse with the men in their language. However, it wasn't long before the squirms started and all of a sudden they had to go! They at least left with some tracts, a phone number to call with questions, and food for thought.

The rest of the team was able to pass out a number of Gospel tracts to those passing by. One of the kids on our team handed out candy and Halloween tracts too, which were gladly received by parents and children alike!

I am so excited to have found likeminded believers with whom to join forces as we seek to obey the Lord and share about Him with others! Please pray with us that the seeds planted today will be watered and bring forth fruit that remains!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Love of God - O Amor de Dios

Last week was Bible Conference here at RGBI for the students in the Bible Institute. Those of us in the missionary language school were able to attend the evening conference sessions. Even though they were in Spanish, I was able to understand quite a bit and enjoyed the experience!

On the last night of the conference, I was on the schedule to play the piano and provide special music. I asked my friend, Lorena, to sing soprano with me for a duet of "The Love of God" in both English and Spanish. We both got nervous and so our special didn't turn out quite as well as we had practiced, but we prayed that God would use it to be a blessing anyway!

Here is a video of the song:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Children's Bell Choir

Recently, the children of staff and students here at RGBI played a bell choir special for our morning chapel service. It was such a blessing to hear beautiful music being created by little ones! I loved the idea of teaching children to play the bells using a color coding technique. I'm hoping to take this idea and use it on the mission field one day...

In the meanwhile, here is a video of the song for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Promoting Courageous

I'm sure most of you reading this blog are aware that Sherwood Pictures is launching another world-changing film next year entitled Courageous. For months now, I have been following the movie-making process via their website and praying for this timely film that has the potential to impact thousands of lives.

If you have not taken the time to learn about this film and its message, I encourage you to click this link and watch the video posted. I hope it will be an encouragement and inspiration!

Monday, October 18, 2010

He is Faithful

The other day, I was reading the latest update on the Wissmann family's blog when I clicked on the sample song He is Faithful from one of their recent CDs. Even though I had heard the song before, it ministered in a tremendous way to my spirit that evening. The beautiful words and sweet harmonies applied a balm to my soul that I greatly needed. Since then, I have listened to this song several times a day to remind myself of God's faithfulness in the midst of the storms of life.

With the desire to share this lovely song with you, I have copied the widget of sample songs from the Wissmann Family below. Be sure to click on song #4 to hear He is Faithful and to be reminded of the presence of the Lord in our lives. And while you're at it, I'm sure you will enjoy the other songs listed; most of which are hymn arrangements in the blue grass style for which their family is known.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Video Clips from Dia de la Raza

In my last post, I shared lots of pictures from Dia de la Raza, but only had the time to upload one video. Here are a few more that I took that day to give you a glimpse into our fun, colorful life here at RGBI!

This first video is of a traditional folk dance from Chile:

Here is a portion of the hilarious skit performed by friends from Honduras. Even if you don't understand Spanish, I think you'll appreciate the actors' attempts at humor. :-)

The last video I'll post from Dia de la Raza is of Luis from Paraguay singing in the three languages of his country. English and Spanish are two of the languages. The third one I don't even remember the name for but seemed like a cross between English and French. You can see some of the words on the screen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dia de la Raza

My fellow Americans at RGBI

Dia de la Raza was a fun school holiday this past week during which we celebrated the cultural diversities amongst our staff and study body here at RGBI!

The morning started out with a procession of the flags from each country while the national anthems played. Then, presentations were given from each country that included videos, folk dancing, songs, poems, and skits. After the presentations, we all filed outside for a grand parade around the school grounds, ending at the circle of flags. Each flag was hoisted while again the national anthems were sung. Finally, we finished the celebration with a big, international meal! What fun!

My friend, Jada, prepares to march in with the American flag.

Here comes Panama!

The students from Chile performed a traditional folk dance and sang a song from their country.

The Honduranians performed a hilarious skit that had us rolling with laughter!

All countries present and accounted for.

Out they go!

Getting ready for the parade.

Our fearless leaders!

Hurray for the red, white, and blue!

Time to eat!

En La Cocina

This past Monday, we celebrated Dia de la Raza here on campus. It is a school holiday dedicated to the celebration of the international diversity we share. The day included presentations from each country, a parade, flag raising, and an international meal.

Here are a few pictures I snapped the night before of preparations taking place in the kitchen!

Above, Lilian from Honduras prepares tamales from her home country.

Filling ingredients include a thick, corn sauce, chicken, rice, peas, bananas, raisins, and olives.

She wrapped each tamale in a large banana leaf.

Then, she cooked them on the stove!

Hermana Nieves, our weekend dorm mom, made delicious "pancitas" - little bread-cookies - from a recipe she received from her grandmother.

I got to try one hot out of the oven and they were scrumptious!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Volleyball Champions

Don't you love those movies about underdog sports teams that play with all their might and end up winning? Well, now I can say I've been a part of such a story - and it wasn't in a movie!

A school-wide volleyball tournament has been taking place on campus the last several weeks. I was invited to be on a team with fellow South Americans and gratefully accepted. However, I didn't hold out much hope that we would be very good considering that the majority of my teammates were soccer players and rarely stepped foot on the volleyball court. :-)

But at least we could give it a shot and have fun, right?

Practices got underway and I realized I was part of a team that was downright terrible.
I know that sounds pessimistic, but I really did think it true! Just goes to show you can't base anything on first impressions! The good thing was, I'm not the greatest volleyball player myself so I felt good that at least I wouldn't be the only "weak link" on the team.

Imagine my surprise when at the second practice game I saw my team actually rally together and play some decent volleyball. Maybe we weren't so bad after all!

The first weekend of the tournament we beat one team and lost against another. The second weekend found us the victors against both teams we played. I was impressed to see my teammates work so well together and play not only decent volleyball but excellent volleyball! It turns out I was the weak link after all...which was humbling to recognize! :-)

We tied with two other teams in our division for winning 3 out of 4 games, so a tally of points was taken. Based on our scores, we came out in the lead and were told we'd be advancing to the semi-finals! I was shocked! Never did I imagine we'd make it so far!

Part of the crowd at the semi-finals Friday night.

Praying before we began.

Ready to conquer...

Pressing forward for victory.

I can't believe we won!

Heading to the finals...

And so it was that our humble little South American band played tonight in an intense final competition against the other leading team of the tournament. I have to be honest and admit that even with all the victories I had seen us win, I still thought we would be beaten tonight. I mean, the other team was REALLY good and we would need every last ounce of effort to keep the scores close, let alone to win.

O me of little faith.

Let me just say right here that my team is AWESOME. :-) They gave their wholehearted effort to the competition tonight and the best part is, we all had fun doing so! Even though the scores were neck and neck...even though the tension in the air was so thick you could practically slice it with a was a real joy to play volleyball with a court-full of Christians who love the Lord, wanted to have fun, and wanted to win!

The first match we won...but only by the skin of our teeth! It was close all the way.
The second match we again played with scores so close we had to go into overtime for I don't know how long, only to lose the victory at the last.
The third and tie-breaking match started out dismal - 4 to 0. But as we are famous for doing, we rallied together, encouraged one another, and plunged forward.

Linda served a perfect game...and steadily our scores went up!

Before long, we had pulled ahead..and kept going! 15 to 4 South America!

We won!

The victors! Go South America!

Receiving our gold medals...

and the trophy.

RGBI 2010 Volleyball Champions

1st, 2nd, 3rd place teams

Alejo from Venezuela

Linda was so excited --- she said she's never won first place for anything in her life until now!

Our team captain and his co-captain :-)

Friends who wanted in on the fun!

All the students from Chile sharing in the South American victory.

Fun times are here!

Never underestimate the underdogs!